One of the first subjects of Therapeutic Applications of Integral Yoga was a discussion of sulphorapane, which is a molecule that is present in cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, etc.). Research is indicating that this molecule has anticancer properties. So, eat your broccoli.
First step might be as simple as being mindful of what we eat.
Entropy is a movement into disorder, disassembly. Without intervention, all matter is moving toward entropy. Negentropy is a movement into order. Aging and sedentary lifestyles move the body into entropy, into disassembly. Negentropy can reverse entropy and maintain the body. So, practice deliberate movement to intervene in this disassembly of the body, keeping the body assembled.
Second step might be as simple of being mindful of how we move.
Stress in entropic. Managing stress is negentropic.
Relax, for Pete’s sake!
Third step might be as simple of being mindful of how to recognize the body’s signals that stress is moving beyond the tolerable stage, whether physical, mental, or emotional.
The second day of Therapeutic Applications of Integral Yoga began with a discussion on scientific reductionism. While scientific reductionism is quite useful on many levels, it turns out that loading a reductionist experiment with more than three variables may prove to be too complex for consistent answers. Dr. Panico gave a wonderful illustration about how moving into higher math grew more difficult as the variables in an equation increased. In other words as the load increases, the journey becomes more difficult.
Which brought up the subject, allostatic load. Allostatic load is like the variables in an equation: the more variables, the more wear and tear on the body.
Fourth step might be as simple of being mindful of when enough is enough.
Tensegrity is an architectural term to explain the principle of how a geodesic dome can keep from collapsing. Basically, each unit is part of a whole that maintains structure and unity without causing stress/damage to any other unit, often without coming into contact with other parts of the structure. The same is true with the body. Biotensegrity. Each part of the body is affected by how other parts of the body move. That’s why a massage/physical therapist can find something in the lower back that is torqueing the knee. Why a present-day stress might trigger a painful childhood memory.
Fifth step might be as simple as being mindful that pain/discomfort might be related to something about which you are completely unaware. Meditation might be an effective way to “zero-in” on the pain, paying attention.
How we eat
How we move
How we respond to stress
How to know when enough is enough
How to address inexplicable pain
This is a yogic lifestyle, living mindfully into each moment.
Many of you have asked what was the thing that stood out most in the workshop. Two of the presenters were sitting on the stage, and as one started talking about the importance of exercise, the other presenter interrupted and said, “Yoga is not exercise.” The first presenter responded, “Yes, it is.” The second said, “No, yoga is mindful movement.”
What I took away from that exchange is the profound difference between mindfulness movement (hatha yoga) and automatic pilot (exercise).
For more information about how yoga can heal the body, Dr. Dean Ornish has pioneered research in yoga therapy. And fundamental to his work is his training in Integral Yoga®. Dr. Ornish was doing yoga therapy before yoga therapy was cool.